In the New York Times, Howard French writes about the rescue of 129 students and ten teachers in an isolated village in Wenchuan county eight days after the earthquake struck. He then goes on to question the reliability of the government’s statistics on the disaster, given that some of the smaller, more isolated villages may have been overlooked in the rescue efforts:
In their rush to save people, China’s rescue workers often sped past small villages, sometimes even within sight of people who needed emergency help. This was done in the spirit of a kind of triage, focusing efforts on places where the largest numbers of people could be saved. In the mountains of central Sichuan, where road networks have been cut off by landslides and bridge collapses, how many villages and hamlets have been overlooked even now is unclear.
With questions like this looming, China’s propaganda authorities have moved to reassert their control over the nation’s media.
Newspapers around the country have adopted solemn, color-free front pages and headlines with strongly nationalistic overtones, inviting readers to rally around the government.
The near lock-step uniformity that began with the start of the three-day mourning period on Monday comes immediately on the heels of a remarkable, if fleeting, breakout by the Chinese press from the government’s strict controls.
Caijing magazine has several reports from the disaster zone on their English site, including “Fading Cries for Help in Devastated Yingxiu,” “Pengzhou: Home to 100,000 Quake Refugees,” and “Quake Dispatch: Gloomy City, Huge Cracks.”
The government estimates that 12 million people will need to be relocated after the quake. Al Jazeera reports from a shelter set up for homeless earthquake survivors: